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Baczkowski/Flaherty/Corsano: The Dim Bulb; Cold Bleak Heat: It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War; Jumala Quintet: Turtle Crossing

Jeff Stockton By

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The Dim Bulb
Wet Paint

Veteran underground alto/tenor saxophonist Paul Flaherty and his much-younger compadre, drummer Chris Corsano, have a bond. As a duo, they most often sound like a thundering herd of elephants, with Corsano cast as the thundering herd and Flaherty as the elephants, or like Indians in an old western charging the cowboys on galloping horseback and in full war cry. The Dim Bulb introduces baritone player Steve Baczkowski, an even farther underground free improviser from Buffalo and the effect is at once overwhelming and exhilarating. The music flickers like electricity in a brownout, straining to sustain itself, then surging to incandescence.

Cold Bleak Heat
It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War
Family Vineyard

Cold Bleak Heat adds trumpeter Greg Kelley and bassist Matt Heyner to the Flaherty/Corsano nucleus, wrapping flavor and texture around the uncompromising core. Heyner is good support for Corsano's drums as his pizzicato whips the rhythm and for the horns as his haunting arco playing echoes and moans. Kelley's plunger-muted growls drive the opener, "Never Give 'Em What They Want , and his bleating introverted notes on "You Only Live for Infinity highlight this band's chamber-like distillation of instrumental sounds. Cold Bleak Heat creates pressure that builds more often than it's released and for all its primitive brutishness, these improvised compositions offer subtleties that draw you in and a ferociousness that keeps you there.

Jumala Quintet
Turtle Crossing
Clean Feed

The session that produced Turtle Crossing has been called "polite by Paul Flaherty and in terms of its egalitarian vibe, its mostly quiet musical interplay and Flaherty's reputation, it is. Steve Swell's bubbling trombone behaves more like a baritone trumpet. Joe McPhee, who brings a lifetime of improvisation and the reassuring ability to make correct creative choices in an unrehearsed, first-time-together setting, contrasts his stalwart tenor with Flaherty's altissimo squeals and reclaims the soprano with his solo over a walking rhythm section on "Borrowed Light . The band breaks off into duos and trios for the epic title track, evaporating the time, but as on "Unspoken Oath and "Weighing of the Heart , the Jumala Quintet is never more engaging than when in full blare.

The Dim Bulb

Tracks: 1 Return to the Pasture of Ants and Sweet Rapture; 2 Soaking in Gravel and Shale; 3 No Boat Will Ever Come

Personnel: Steve Baczkowski: baritone saxophone; Paul Flaherty: alto and tenor saxophone; Chris Corsano: drums

It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War

Tracks: 1 Never Give 'Em What They Want; 2 The Blues Dabs of Varicose Veins; 3 Bloodshot Blink (Vanquished Teeth); 4 Raising the Dead (Freezer Fight); 5 Love Conquers All Motherfucker; 6 You Only Live for Infinity; 7 Is That All You Got?

Personnel: Paul Flaherty: alto and tenor saxophones; Chris Corsano: drums; Greg Kelley: trumpet; Matt Heyner: bass

Turtle Crossing

Tracks: 1 The Gift of Nowhere; 2 Turtle Crossing; 3 Unspoken Oath; 4 Weighing of the Heart; 5 Borrowed Light; 6 All Is Always Now

Personnel: Paul Flaherty: alto and tenor saxophones; Joe McPhee: tenor and soprano saxophones, pocket trumpet; Steve Swell: trombone, John Voigt: bass; Laurence Cook: drums


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